High School Orchestra Special Topic
At the end of each year we take time to explore a work, composer or musical movement that made an indelible mark on the course of history. In honor of his 100th birth year we examine the work and lasting legacy of Leonard Bernstein
Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: Bernstein the Composer
Fancy Free: genre-bending ballet
West Side Story
Three Meditations from "Mass"
The Chichester Psalms
Movements 2 & 3 - 03:57-13:15
On the Town: musical based on Fancy Free.
Original screenplay featured dance superstar Gene Kelly.
"On the Town was premiered on Broadway in 1944, with the film rights sold before the show even hit the stage. It was considered very progressive at the time, as it was the first musical that incorporated black and white characters performing alongside one another in equal roles, with a complete lack of racial stereotyping. Plus, the show’s first conductor, Everett Lee, was the first black conductor and musical director on Broadway". http://www.classical-music.com/article/guide-bernsteins-town
"Probing the existential questions that haunt us was a hallmark of Bernstein both as a person and composer. He was not satisfied unless he was immersed in major issues, upending and questioning the status quo, often with irreverence and insouciance. That was what made Bernstein so much fun to be around and imbued his music with such depth for me.
How many people would even consider turning Voltaire's satirical novella from 1759, Candide, into musical theater, let alone jump at the opportunity?
Playwright Lillian Hellman approached Bernstein in 1953 with the concept. They delighted in the idea of drawing parallels between Voltaire's satirical portrayal of the Catholic Church's blatant hypocrisy and violence and the inquisition-like tactics then being implemented by the U.S. government under the House of Representatives' House Un-American Activities Committee."
Symphony No. 2: Age of Anxiety
Photo from the "Omnibus" television program
Bernstein & Mahler
The Young People's Concerts | 00:01-10:15
The Norton Lectures at Harvard: 20th Century Music
Day 4: Bernstein the Humanitarian
Bernstein & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Israel Philharmonic
"Serenade," 1987 Aids Research Benefit Concert
"Serenade" raised the first million dollars for AmFAR's community - based clinical trials program, which went on to create a nationwide network of 45 cooperating HIV/AIDS clinical research centers. https://leonardbernstein.com/about/humanitarian/aids-awareness-and-funding-for-research
Felicia Montealegre Bernstein Fund
of Amnesty International USA
Leonard & Felicia Bernstein were early supporters of the human rights organization Amnesty International. When Felicia died "Leonard Bernstein established the Felicia Montealegre Bernstein Fund of Amnesty International USA to provide much-needed support for human rights activists who had few resources beyond personal dedication." https://leonardbernstein.com/about/humanitarian/human-rights-activist
Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Berlin Freedom Concert